What Really Happened At Pentecost?  

Acts 2:1-4


     There are seven references in the New Testament to baptism "in the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; I Cor. 12:13). In every place where the Scriptures speak of baptism "with the Spirit," the word with should be properly translated in. Also, every reference to this baptism "in the Holy Spirit" is in reference to the day of Pentecost and the events of Acts 2.


     All but two of the references are prophetical. They anticipated the day of Pentecost. The other two point back to it. After the believing Gentiles (Acts 11:15-17) experienced the same thing the believing Jews did in Acts 2, Peter remembered the Lord's promise (Acts 1:5) and said, "This is the same thing!" I Corinthians 12:13 also refers to that great event. Again, the text should read "in one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." The baptism in the Spirit is always spoken of as a work done by Christ, our exalted King for his people. It is something done upon the believer, not something done by him.


     This baptism in the Holy Spirit was an unconditional promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). It was not a conditional blessing, dependent upon the obedience or spirituality of the believer. It is a work of grace promised to all God's elect.


     Every regenerate person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit, not when he was born again, or when he was baptized in water. Our baptism in the Spirit took place at Pentecost. In Acts 2 the Lord Jesus baptized his church into the Spirit. When people are born again and brought into the body of Christ they enter into the realm of the Holy Spirit.


     We should no more pray for another Pentecost than for another Calvary! Both are finished works of grace for every believer. But we must seek to be filled with the Spirit at all times (Eph.5:18), that we may walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:16), as people who have been baptized into the body of Christ, as those who live in the realm of the Holy Spirit, as new creatures in Christ.



Don Fortner